TODAY, Google celebrates a national splendor that as of today, ironically, you cannot go see.
The California tech titan’s Tuesday home page features a Doodle honoring one of that state’s true natural treasures: Yosemite National Park, a stunning swath of granite faces and waterfalls and giant Sequoias that was established on this day in 1890 — thanks in part to a Lincoln land grant several decades earlier and a project for which the U.S. government showed sustained vision.
In a cruel and coincidental twist, however, Tuesday also marks the first time in 17 years that would-be tourists cannot visit Yosemite because of a shutdown of the U.S. government. Congress couldn’t hit a midnight Monday deadline to keep the government running, so in addition to hundreds of thousands of federal workers being furloughed, the stalemate means that the national parks — like many museums and monuments — will be shut and shuttered beginning Tuesday.
“Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed,” President Obama said Monday night in a White House statement about the ramifications of the federal shutdown. “And of course the communities and small business that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.”
According to the Department of the Interior, Yosemite has a two-phase plan in place for shutting the park first to would-be day visitors — and then current park campers — over the next several days.
Yosemite covers more than 760,000 acres — about 95 percent of which is wilderness — and draws more than 3.7-million visitors a year. Just not, perhaps, this year. Especially in the wake of California’s Rim Fire this past summer, as charred parts of the park begin to regenerate and germinate after what officials called the most destructive conflagration in centuries in the Sierra Nevada.
From El Capitan to Half Dome, Yosemite has survived voracious fires and avaricious would-be developers, partly through being popularized by naturalist John Muir, who described his first experiences in the Sierras as seeing “a window opening into heaven, a mirror reflecting the Creator.”
Till Yosemite the great window reopens, we’ll let Google’s Doodle — and the smaller window of Google Images — guide us to what we can see.
[SHUTDOWN: Political cartoonists take aim at the stalemate]
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